North America is grilling up a storm this weekend. Between Canada Day (today) and the Independence Day weekend in the U.S., picnic tables will groan under the summer bounty.
And my husband’s native Uruguay is playing in the World Cup, so in my dreams that entire country is tailgating from afar, because certainly there won’t be any work going on.
So by now everyone has their picnic menus mapped out, and their list ready for a swing through the farmers market. Megan’s making a Texas sheet cake, and Locavorious has a blueberry pie on the menu. Noelle is making a Mediterranean portabella salad with herb bread.
But what about breakfast? Dog Hill Kitchen has an intriguing Fire and Ice Sour Cherry Oatmeal, contrasting frozen cherries with warm Scottish oatmeal.
A long weekend often means visitors, particularly if you live near water or have a pool, and at this time of year it’s important to start the day right, but with an easygoing attitude. Â I’ll be using what may be the last of the strawberries in my favorite strawberry smoothie. And I’ll make cold-brewed coffee, both to get the morning started with little effort. No heat required — it’s supposed to be steamy!
Quick-and-simple strawberry smoothie
1 cup milk
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup quartered strawberries
6 to 8 ice cubes
Whirl all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
- Half a banana, a generous dollop of cottage cheese, or a few tablespoons of rolled oats will give your smoothie substance and body, almost like a milk shake.
- Put the liquid in the blender before any of the other ingredients. It’ll go easier on your blender motor, particularly if you’re like me and like to load it up with fruit. Give it a good whirl, then drop the ice cubes in through the opening on the lid.
- Switch things up with unexpected ingredients. Peanut butter, grated ginger or a smidge of almond paste will add a little zip.
- Freeze fruit to preserve your farmers market bounty past the season.
- Patience is key. Walk away for five minutes to let everything get nice and smooth.
This is the easiest to make: simply scoop your ground coffee into a pitcher and top it off with one cup water per one to two tablespoons coffee, depending on how strong you like it. Put in the fridge overnight and you have iced coffee ready for the earliest riser. Pour it through a strainer right into the glass.
By the way, I first learned this method from the folks at Kickapoo Coffee in Viroqua, Wisconsin, and I just discovered my friend Marc will be working with them. It brings to mind my favorite tip: find a local roaster who has good relationships with growers. I found one at nearly every farmers market I visited last year.
Cold-brewed coffee tips
- Sweeten with simple syrup: boil equal amounts of sugar and water until syrupy, about eight to ten minutes. Cool and keep in a pretty bottle in the door. Clear glass soda bottles are great for this.
- Use your leftover coffee to make coffee ice cubes. They’ll keep the coffee cool even on the sultriest day.